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Ivory Coast: The Razing Of Shantytowns Continues - 2002-10-28

As Ivory Coast’s government and rebels prepare for peace talks, the government continues to raze shantytowns in Abidjan. The government says those located near military installations may pose a security risk. It’s believed that thousands of people have been displaced.

Astrid Van Genderen Stort, spokeswoman in Abidjan for the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, says despite government statements, shantytowns not located near military bases have also been destroyed. She says the UNHCR has set up six transit centers for the refugees, including a private home and a large factory. However, the agency is asking the government to provide better locations.

Ms. Van Genderen Stort says many displaced Ivorians have gone to live with families. But she says many others who had lived in the shantytowns are immigrants from neighboring countries. Their identification papers and property have been destroyed, in many cases, making them afraid to be out on the streets.

Ms. Van Genderen Stort spoke with English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua.